January 4, 2012

New Year, New Neuroses, and the Best Pictures of 2011

Goodbye, 2011!  Hello, Photo Spam!
For those of you who haven't been following me for over a year, I have a tendency to take my New Year's Resolutions... very seriously.  I set myself an annual list of goals, and then I take notes every day of whether or not I succeeded.  Sound insane?  It is.

And I have to confess, it kind of works.

It doesn't work on a daily basis.  It sort of works on a weekly basis.  But it DEFINITELY works on an annual basis.  Each year, I take a few hours to tally up my results, and to find out where I really need improvement, and where I have achieved my greatest successes.

My 2012 checklist hardly varies at all from my 2011 checklist.  In 2011, I aimed to do the following:

  1. Write every day
  2. Cook a meal every day
  3. Finish my homework every day
  4. Leave the house every day
  5. Eat at least two meals every day
  6. Perform basic maintenance on my body every day (Yeah, I resolved to shower OR brush my teeth OR wash my face.  You try being a new mom of twins and tell me how you manage that one.)
  7. Exercise for at least 20 min three days a week
  8. Observe the Sabbath (that's once a week)
  9. Finish two books each month
  10. Make art twice a month

It was a nice round list.  And now I know how I did.

Wrote Daily
I wrote, either here, on my ideasforwomen.com blog, at one of my livejournals, or in my real world paper journal on 321 days.  On a great many of those days, I did several, and soemtimes all of the above.  For example, today I've written in my paper journal and scheduled two more posts at ideasforwomen.com.  So although I will have completed 4 separate writing activities, I only get to check off the box for one day.  And that's how it was for much of last year.  That means that on 43 days I did not write at all.  That's almost a month and a half in which I didn't even pick up a pen.  I must confess, I'm pretty ashamed of myself.  Even though I had specified to myself that I would write "at least seventeen syllables," I only wrote 11 haiku all year long!  Next year, I am sure I can do better.  I'm willing to give myself a little leeway- 10 days.  After all, we do enough traveling and whatnot, it seems really rude not to give myself the excuse of just plain being too busy being a guest or host or something.  And I probably won't be writing my first day with Baby X.  (Who am I kidding?  You'll probably be the first to know when Baby X is here!)  But the goal number for this year is 355.  I think I can do it.

DD is going to make banana bread.
Cooked Daily
I really nailed this one.  I cooked on 335 days.  Some of those days, all three meals.  This one has been made much easier as a result of a few changes- First, that the girls actually require a cooked breakfast.  No cold cereal for them.  We tend to go between four regular breakfasts a week, "green eggs," which is essentially an egg scramble with zucchini or spinach and smoked Gouda cheese, waffles, oatmeal with some fruit mixed in (preferably "purple" oatmeal with blueberries- my kids love them some color coded food!), and french toast.  It's frequently their healthiest meal of the day.  So every morning I'm home with the kids, I make breakfast at least.  Then there's dinners.  For Christmas last year, Grandma got me a bread machine.  Between the bread machine and the slow cooker, home cooked meals have NEVER been easier.  I can set the bread to time itself to finish right with the slow cooker, and then for dinner we have hot soup or stew and fresh bread.  Is it cheating?  Hell yes.  But it works!  And I love it!  That one month worth of days that I didn't cook can easily be explained by travel and my occasional illness.  I am totally comfortable with this number.  So satisfied, in fact, that it has come off of my 2012 list!

Completed Homework Daily
Not surprisingly, I kind of screwed this one up.  Last semester particularly.  I only completed my homework on 244 days.  For nearly a third of the year, I just plain didn't finish my homework every night, and that sucks.  That said, I still turned it in on time- when you have class on Monday and you don't do your homework on Friday or Saturday, that doesn't mean that it doesn't get finished before it's due.  So I don't feel that this one is necessarily as bad as it looks.  The fact of the matter is that when your homework depends on a totally dysfunctional group, there's no use stressing yourself out over this kind of thing.  It stays on the list for this year, of course, but I can basically forget it halfway through the year.  Because I'll FINALLY be graduating.  Oh, sweet joy of joys.  :)  And yes, if I had no homework to do, I counted it as done.  Might as well be kind to myself once in a while!

Even a trip to the yard is a good idea!
Left the House Daily
I did better this year than in 2010.  In 2010, I managed to get out of the house 269 days.  In 2011, it was up to 301.  I feel pretty good about that.  It helps to have kids who can get up and down three flights of stairs on their own steam!  Still, for basically two entire months of the year I never left the house.  And that's ridiculous.  My goal for this year is to keep it at least as high.  After all, with a newborn AND two toddlers I should cut myself some slack if we have vegging out days on a regular basis.  I'm sure three kids are more than a handful out in public.  That said, with the girls *hopefully* going to preschool, I'll be leaving five days a week to drop them off and pick them up.  And that will certainly help!

Maintained Hygiene on a Daily Basis
Okay, this is where I come clean (ha ha ha) about how crappy I can be to myself.  You see, when the first thing you hear every morning is the screaming of a miserable toddler, or you're dragging yourself out of bed after a long night of two kids with runny noses, or you just plain can't bear to see the sun until you absolutely have to, morning showers sort of stop happening.  And I don't know about you, but I hate showering at night.  It makes my hair weird.  So, I resolved to *at least* wash my face OR brush my teeth every day.  No exceptions.  This is without a doubt my biggest failure.  If you can handle learning how incredibly disgusting I am, here it goes...  I only did the bare minimum to care for my own body on 251 days in 2011.  You read that right.  For over 100 days last year, I was un-bathed, un-washed, and my teeth were un-brushed.  And that is just plain gross.  This year, I am DETERMINED to do better.  And in order to do better, Grandma and M both got me presents that are going to help.  M got me a WaterPic flosser- SO COOL!  It's fun, it's effective, and every time I see it I'm like, "Ooh!  I can floss my teeth!"  Just not in front of the kids.  They get very jealous, and they make an unholy mess with the thing.  Grandma got me a telescoping, wall mounted, lighted shaving mirror.  Let me tell you, NOTHING will motivate you to keep your face clean like looking at it every day in 700% magnification.  You have no idea how many blackheads you actually have until you're compulsively squishing your nose at every angle.  Amazing, and disgusting.  That's what I call motivation!

Grubling yoga!
Exercised At Least 20 Minutes Three Times a Week
For those of you not so quick with the math, that means my goal was to get some exercise 156 times.  At least.   I got darn close.  My total for the year was 143, only 13 shy of my goal!  That's just not so bad!  I must confess, my "exercise" was frequently a lot of walking, or having sex with M.  Which, to be fair, is pretty darn aerobic.  (M?  Are you blushing yet?)  But I do count it, and I will continue to as frequently as possible. (M?  Are you blushing again?)  And honestly, if all the exercise I got was doing the horizontal tango with my main squeeze just shy of three times a week... well... I'm pretty darn happy with that, too.  I just can't keep my gross little hands off of my studmuffin of a husband.  (M?  You're definitely blushing, aren't you?)  I guess that's why our family is getting a bit bigger in 2012.

Observed the Sabbath Every Week
I totally bombed this one again.  You see, I cheated.  I counted attending shul for things like the High Holy days as "observing," even if it was a different religious obligation.  So if you count all of my religious observances (not counting going to Church with my in-laws- wrong religious observances!), I "observed" on 41 occasions.  There are 52 Sabbaths in a given year.  So, I did WAY better than in 2010, when I only observed Shabbat 10 times (probably including Yom Kippur).  But I can do better, and I will.  Again, I will excuse myself for lighting candles when we're out on a Friday night.  I can be realistic about this one- if M and I head out on a date I'm not going to bring the candles to dinner OR light them at home with a sitter.  Unless the girls ask me to.  So if I manage the same number, NOT counting other religious observances, I think I'll be pretty pleased with my improvement.

SI and DD reading with Poppa
Finished Two Books a Month
This one I did an okay job of accomplishing.  But only for two reasons- First, I averaged out my success across the whole year, even though I finished three or four a week in a few months, and second... I counted every graphic novel I read.  Including trade paperbacks of the Walking Dead.  This meant that since I started off the year by basically spending two weeks sick in bed (yay gall bladder!), and then repeated that feat in the fall, I managed to read a whopping 28 books this year.  Honestly, I'm pretty happy with the amount I read.  I'm pretty pleased to have read the things that I did.  But I would like to read more.  That said, I'm going to keep giving myself the break of counting things like trade paperback collections of comic series, like Walking Dead and Fables... my two current favorites.  I think I just need to up my monthly quota.  So in 2012, rather than average two books per month, I'll be aiming to finish three books a month.  Top of the list are the Phillip K. Dick book I'm in the middle of, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest," "Summerland," which Poppa can't seem to stop recommending, and then something more substantial.  I haven't read the Brothers Karamozov in about eight years, might be time to go back to it again.  Of course, new trades of Walking Dead AND Fables came out last month... so...

Made Art Twice a Month
They had a better track record on art than me last year.
I succeeded.  BARELY.  I only counted completing a work as "making art," which I feel the right to grumble about because I have three currently unfinished paintings in my studio.  All three are wedding portraits for friends who got married in 2011.  So in addition to being a lazy artist, I am a bad friend.  But they will be GOOD paintings, and all six of the subjects are going to absolutely love them, I'm sure.  I just have to FINISH them.  That said, I completed 24 works of art last year, including my holiday cards, the girls' birthday cake, and the girls' toy kitchen.  I also counted each completed Becoming SuperMommy comic- of which there are probably half a dozen you haven't seen.  I'm so sorry I haven't scanned and shared them yet.  But you can rest assured, there will be more Becoming SuperMommy comics in the near future!  I've even come up with a whole theme, DD always has a big dot on her clothes, and SI always has a single stripe.  Get it?  DD= dot, SI=stripe?  That's how I used to handle it at family events when people wouldn't be able to tell them apart.  :)

And that is what I accomplished in 2011.  My list for 2012 has hardly changed, I've just removed my cooking requirement (it's officially a given) and upped the ante for my reading.  I'm feeling pretty darn confident.

I have two more abstract goals for the year.  The first is to actually edit more of my posts.  (Yes, Poppa, you've officially shamed me.)  I can't really quantify this one, because I know that my writing time is limited (which is why it's the 4th and I haven't written this yet), and my windows in which to write are short (generally the length of a nap- which means any minute now my window closes).  Still, I'm keeping that one in the back of my head.  Now that I have a growing number of subscribers who get my posts immediately via email, this seems more and more important.  To those dedicated readers, I am so sorry you get every single typo emailed to you.  I will try to do better.

All things considered, I'm kind of awesome.
My second abstract goal is to be less judgmental of myself.  I have no idea how to do this, but I would like to stop acting as though I have somehow failed because there is always a heap of laundry to do AND to put away, because the living room STILL hasn't been swept, or because the kids have eaten PB&J for lunch every day in a given week.  I know, fundamentally, that I'm doing a darn good job.  I need to stop acting like I've somehow shamed all the mothers that have come before me.  Again, no idea how to quantify it.  I'm just going to try to remember.  I'm a busy lady, not a failure.  They're actually kind of the opposite, right?

As I feel I set a good precedent last year, I will reward you for sitting through my ridiculous self evaluation with the best pictures of my children from the entire year.  Enjoy!

January: My children begin the year by learning to be mischievous, thus setting the tone for 2011.

February: Two little towel-monsters.  :)

March: DD is such an enormous ham.  This might be the cutest picture of her ever.

April: my little angels in their Passover dresses at Aunt Genocide's house

May: with the spring, my little loves donned their overalls and began to enjoy the outdoors properly.
June: a tie!  Snapped by Michael Courrier at the Chicago Slutwalk.

June: a tie!  Regular playtime in the back yard with a kiddie pool, sprinkler, and of course a red wagon.

July: No matter what else happened that month, this was going to be my favorite picture.  :)

August: another tie.  My bathing beauties playing on the beach at Lake Huron.

August: another tie.  My gorgeous flower girls.

September: the girls start helping me out in the kitchen.  Cake is the gateway baked good. :)

October: a three way tie, the month was just too much fun for one photo!

October: Just after the girls turn TWO, we take our first real family outing.  Just the four of us.
...Yes, I was already pregnant.

October: The girls go Trick or Treating for the first time dressed as fairies.

November: SI and DD snuggling at bedtime.

December: another tie.  Maybe my favorite shot of SI ever.

December: the girls in their holiday dresses playing the piano at Grandma's house.

So that was my 2011!  I have no doubt that 2012 is going to be an even better year.  Things just keep looking up for our little family, and I can't imagine that Baby X will change that at all.  Hope to see you all again and again this year!  Hooray 2012!

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